Scaling Software

I spoze we should talk about scaling. There are a bunch of branded solutions to the puzzle of how to organize development of large apps with large teams. I don't know of one that is worth the bits consumed in its logo. Yesterday I mentioned assumption-boxing, that's when we express a problem in such a way that we bind ourselves…

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Pain And TDD

"We were doing TDD just like we're supposed to, but at some point it started hurting, so we not only quit, we told everyone else on the interwebs that TDD doesn't work." I met Kent Beck after a couple of years reading and writing around him, at the first ObjectMentor Extreme Programming (XP) Immersion, a wonderful week I'll never forget,…

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Making Complex Changes

It happens that there are sometimes very complex changes you want to make to your code. These might involve changes to dozens of existing classes, and to the heirs of some of those, too. How do we approach this kind of situation? Recall that managing mental scope is the very heart of programming well. But any such change is sure…

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Getting Them To Do X

How to Steer a Horse Coaches come to me and ask me questions that start with "How can I get them to ..." There's a quote, I'm having a hard time finding a reference, but it's something like this... (reference appreciated) "The easiest way to steer a horse is to want to go where the horse wants to go." I…

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Estimating: Stop Trying Harder

(Note: Lightly edited and adapted from a twitter thread, where I'm @GeePawHill. Noobs be advised, I speak freely there.) Accuracy in estimating software development times is a powerful example of forty years of "try harder" not producing any positive results. Now, given some small change X and some substantial knowledge of the current state of my software, I can usefully…

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Information <-> Behavior Isn’t Simple

Information and Behavior The most common difficulty confronting young coaches may be their oversimple grasp of the relationship between information & behavior. In this oversimple version, behavior derives primarily from the information possessed by the behaver. It's quite alluring then to treat info as a surrogate for behavior. That leads to thinking every situation can be resolved by applying more/different/better…

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